Social Enterprise Mark- qualification criteria

This document sets out the qualification criteria for organisations applying to access the Social Enterprise Mark.

Principles behind the Social Enterprise Mark qualifying criteria

The Social Enterprise Mark will change the place of social enterprises in the market place. The principles behind the qualification criteria are:

The Social Enterprise Mark is a label which tells customers that a product or service comes from a social enterprise. The Mark is a way for social enterprises to promote their values-driven business to customers. Those qualifying to use the Social Enterprise Mark will be established social enterprises who achieve a wider social outcome.

Social enterprises can be very different from one another. The Social Enterprise Mark should not dictate one legal form or one way of evidencing impact, so long as applicants fulfil the criteria below. The Social Enterprise Mark is the customer agent and is responsible for understanding the different approaches.

Social enterprises are often small organisations and as such joining the Social Enterprise Mark should not be too onerous. Therefore it will work with applicants to review and interpret documents and evidence as already in existence within the social enterprise.

Assessing applications to the Social Enterprise Mark is partly a technical process e.g. legal forms, what constitutes trading, etc. To ensure consistency and transparency a dedicated Social Enterprise Mark Impact and Assessment Manager reviews all applications.

The criteria
In order to be eligible for the Social Enterprise Mark, applicants must demonstrate that they are a social enterprise whose key driver is trading and that they operate for wider social / environmental benefit.

Applicants will need to provide evidence in two key areas:
1. Show through their constitution that a sufficient proportion of the profit made by the business is spent on socially beneficial purposes, and that, on dissolution of the business, all residual assets are distributed for socially beneficial purposes.

2. Show by their activities and their accounts that trading is a key driver and that profit generated is used for social or community benefit –whether by the social enterprise itself or by another agency.

The guidance below gives more detail of the criteria and types of evidence that support these requirements.

Full document here http://www.socialenterprisemark.co.uk/webfm_send/45